When applying physiological measurements as a data collection method, some things need to be planned early on.
Which measurements to apply and what other methods are used
The Moodmetric smart ring is recommended to all long term studies that study arousal/stress levels even on large groups. It measures electrodermal activity, which can be the sole physiological method applied, or one of many. Subjective data is often collected in addition, e.g. through questionnaires.
Whichever methods are applied, they should be chosen to best match the objectives of the study. Following aspects of each method should be considered:
- How relevant is each method to the study
- Is the method subjective or objective
- Is it real-time or is the data visible only after the measurements are completed
- Is data continuous or spot measurement and what is the sample rate / data collection frequency
- What is the accuracy of the chosen method
- What is the cost of the chosen method
Depending on the scope of the study, it is possible to simultaneously collect several physiological signals. Cortisol levels can be tracked as spot measurements. In short term studies there is a much wider range of physiological signals that can be observed: ECG (electrocardiography), EEG (electroencephalography), facial recognition (video to track emotions) and fEMG (facial electromyography) to mention a few.
Questionnaires, interviews and simple mood questions (happy, neutral, unhappy) are subjective data collection methods. They can be used side by side with physiological data collection methods.
Applying several methods at the time requires deep understanding of each of them and how the different data sets complement each other.
How to plan physical device ordering, logistics and use
Physical devices are not questionnaires or software that can be easily distributed among research study participants. They might have long lead times (check each supplier well beforehand), they might need charging and possibly special storage conditions.
When using equipment in a field study, instructing the participants about the correct use is very important. Manuals and guides provide a lot of information on each device, but in addition there might be special tips needed when measuring e.g. a group of 100 persons at the time.
Health and well-being data are especially sensitive and data privacy needs to be considered thoroughly. EU countries need to adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this applies also to research data collection with the Moodmetric smart ring.
Contact your university’s / research institutes Ethics committee early on, so that you have enough time to prepare your study and needed paper work regarding data privacy. Check also lesson: Ethical considerations.
Make plans well ahead of time to be certain that on the first measurement day everything is ready. Always test your research set up with a prestudy.
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